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2 Culhane

Bada Boom. Kindred, startled, the voice hissed air, somewhere in the ceiling. A microphone, NOT a camera? No, the dwarf from 1959. Must be.

He moved his thumb, air leaked free. God, the hospital bed again! Psychdaddy's smell again, nicotine and desert gravel. No, that was a slip.

Why the eyes dot the aiiiieees. need drink, stumble upon, asphalt flop. Kindred downed too many red bennies & still the green iiiiis had it

Chlorine assault as Kindred squatted poolside. Broken ceiling tiles. Hum of filter. His room key refracting ten feet under. He dove in.

Bubbles. Fingers grasping, knuckles scraped on cement bottom. Kicking. Heavy shoes pulled him down. Surfaced. Not a key. A switchblade.

Giggling as he sprinted. Open blade. Hallway a dark pantleg stiff on a frozen clothesline. His mother, sitting in the snow. That you, Phil?

Psychdaddy slowly turning, lips a flat scar in a dead head. Kindred's eyelid flickering. 'We don't have to do this, you know. Not this way.'

Miniscule grinding noise. Imperceptible to docdad. Kindred tuned. Motor in a camera? Heart monitor? Wheels on a train track ten miles away?

No train, it was Mitchum out of the past, dropping coins in the juke. Cool, like: bounced off the balloon, the floor, into the slot. Dime dime

dime nickel and dimed, Kindred out-weaved Mitch in a clown pavane, shivarees of veins in both foreheads. Psychdaddy always said think, man.

Gotta think. What year was it in the desert? I know, well, you know its NOT 1982. I can see you shaking your head, Kindred said, looking up.

Sand, a projectile etching history into exposed skin. Light, a missile blinding goggled eyes. Sound, a hammer bludgeoning covered ears.

He runs without touching the ground, propelled by the hand of God. A storm-tossed leaf, a cannonball, dancing on the bent edges of gravity.

If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One.

Kindred plastered on brick. Culhane walked away from his ticking pickup and entered 125 with a brown bag. He was a disciple. True believer.

Elbows on the ledge, Kindred poured himself through the gap in the drapes and sat beside Culhane, who was watching a documentary about math.

Number me slumber me dumber me. Scientists at a roundtable. One two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven twelve. Disciples. Boom.

He couldn't touch Culhane, not yet. Culhane had addresses, names, numbers, blast data, images, key variables, vectors, angles, measurements.

Kindred slimed under the door, reconfigured and blew down the hall, a hot dry wind from New Mexico. Pickup truck running hard, rolling west.

Culhane smelled cordite in the air. He opened the ammo box and examined the paper again. Chained the door, ran some numbers, went to bed.

Kindred stabbed a can of chili with the switchblade, stuck in his tongue. Face smeared, slumped against the inside of his door. Slept.



eve cleveland said...

Wow, you never fail to move me. Now help me unpack while I read this again. Merry Christmas and big hugs.

horatio salt said...

thanks, eve. there's plenty of room here at the joy motel. unpack and stay awhile. hs

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